18 Ab Exercises for a Improved Core
It’s time to switch it up! Tired of sit-ups? Bored with planks? Still aiming for those six-pack abs? We have a variety of unconventional core exercises (including the highly effective Lemon Squeezer Exercise) that will provide a significant challenge for your abs.
We’ve partnered with trainer Lauren Williams from Tone House to showcase some of the greatest exercises for your midsection. (Just take a look at her impressive six-pack! Clearly, she knows what she’s doing.)
This diverse collection of exercises (including our favorite, the Lemon Squeezer Exercise) focuses on your entire core, helping you tone your abdominal muscles. What’s even better is that you can combine them for a maximum payoff in just five minutes, which is much more effective than doing sit-ups for the same duration. For more inspiration on how to mix and match these exercises, check out our 30-Day Ab Challenge. We guarantee you’ll see results. (Want more? We challenge you to a Plank-Off!)
Lemon Squeezer Exercise
A Begin by lying on your back, extending your arms and legs. Keep them lifted approximately two inches off the floor.
B Crunch upwards by bending your knees toward your chest and reaching your arms forward to touch your calves while balancing on your hips. Reverse the movement and return to the initial position of the Lemon Squeezer Exercise. That counts as one repetition.
A Lie on your back, extend your legs and arms toward the ceiling, and lift your head and shoulders off the floor.
B Perform a small crunch by reaching your fingers toward your toes, then lower them back down just an inch. That counts as one repetition.
Mountain Climber Holds
A Begin in a push-up position with your arms straight and directly beneath your shoulders, maintaining a straight line from shoulders to ankles.
B Engage your abs, lift one foot off the floor, and bring the corresponding knee up toward your chest while keeping your body as straight as possible. Hold for five seconds, then return to the starting position and repeat the movement with the opposite leg. That counts as one repetition.
Plank Up Downs
A Assume a plank position with your hands and feet shoulder-width apart, engaging your abs.
B Quickly bend your left arm and lower down onto your left forearm.
Duplicate with right limb. Without delay locate left palm beneath shoulder and elongate left limb, exerting force upwards. Duplicate with right limb to revert to plank stance. That constitutes one repetition.
A Lie supine with arms fully extended along the sides. Bring legs to a position where the knees are bent and the lower legs are parallel to the floor.
B Engage the core and extend the left arm up and behind the head while straightening the right leg without letting it touch the floor. Return to the starting position and repeat on the other side to complete one repetition.
A Recline on the back with legs fully extended toward the ceiling and place hands with palms facing down under the lower back for support.
B Slowly lower the legs towards the floor, keeping them two inches above the surface. Lift the legs back to the starting position. That constitutes one repetition.
Alternating Touch of Toes
A Lie flat on the back with both arms and legs fully extended.
B Lift the right leg as the left arm reaches towards it. Return to the starting position and repeat the same movement on the opposite side to complete one repetition.
A Lie on the back with legs extended straight towards the ceiling and place hands palm down under the lower back for support.
B Lower one leg until it floats approximately an inch above the ground, then return to the starting position. Repeat the same movement on the other side. This completes one repetition.
A Be seated on the floor with knees and hips bent at a 90-degree angle, legs raised and parallel to the ground. The hands should be clasped at the center of the chest, with elbows pointing outwards.
B Lean back until the torso forms a 45-degree angle. Utilize the abdominal muscles to twist the torso as much as possible in one direction before reversing the motion and returning to the starting position to twist in the opposite direction. This constitutes one repetition.
Rotation with Side Plank
A Commence by assuming a side plank on the right forearm, with feet and hips stacked and the left hand on the hip. Slowly rotate the body towards the center, lowering the left forearm to meet the right on the floor, assuming a plank position.
B Gradually rotate the body into a side plank on the opposite side, with the left forearm on the floor. That completes one repetition.
Alternate Elevation of Arm and Leg
A Begin in a plank position with extended arms, forming a straight line from shoulders to ankles. Engage the core, contract the glutes, and position the feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
B Lift one arm and the opposite leg off the floor. Hold this position, then return to the starting position and repeat the same movement on the opposite side. This completes one repetition.
A Recline on the floor. Push both hands together overhead and press feet together with legs fully stretched out. Raise legs off the floor and gradually contract the torso up so only the lower back and glutes are touching the floor.
B Gradually roll onto the side without letting arms or legs touch, transitioning to a side hold. Pause in this position.
C With arms and legs still lifted off the floor, continue rolling onto the stomach. Hold and roll back to reverse the motion and return to the starting position.
Kneel Chop with Medicine Ball
A In a kneeling position, grasp a medicine ball with both hands at chest height. Keeping the chest up, bring the ball to the outside of one knee.
B Twist the torso as far as possible, bringing the ball up and above the opposite shoulder.
C Forcefully slam the medicine ball to the floor, throwing the ball down. Try to catch it as it bounces. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Kneeling Medicine Ball Slam
A In a kneeling position, hold a medicine ball with both hands at chest height. Keeping the chest up, bring the ball to the outside of one knee.
B Twist the torso as far as possible, bringing the ball up and above the opposite shoulder. Return to the starting position. Repeat on the other side.
Bicycle Press with Band
A Loop a resistance band around the top of the feet and flex the toes. Lie faceup with legs extended on the ground, placing hands behind your head with elbows bent out to the sides. Lift the legs, head, and shoulders as you bend the right knee and rotate the left shoulder toward it, pressing against the resistance band with the left foot.
B Extend the right leg as you bend the left knee toward the chest and rotate the shoulder toward it, pressing against the resistance band with the right foot. That’s one repetition. Continue alternating sides.
Plank Jack with Band
A Place a resistance band around the calves and start in a full plank position with feet together and abs tight.
B Jump the feet apart into a wide V, then immediately jump them back together (like a jumping jack).
Side Plank Leg Lifts
A Lie on the side and position yourself on the bottom elbow and side of the foot. Lift the hips in the air, forming a straight line from ankles to shoulders, and brace the core.
B While keeping the torso stable, raise the top leg without bending the knee. Do not let the hips drop. Return to the starting position.
A Lie faceup with legs extended on the ground, placing hands behind your head with elbows bent out to the sides.
- Lift your legs, head, and shoulders while bending your right knee and turning your left shoulder towards it.
- B Stretch your right leg while bending your left knee towards your chest and rotating your shoulder towards it. That constitutes one repetition. Keep alternating sides.